Are we part of the problem re: beauty and body image

What do you all think about this? And are we part of the machine that makes our world a worse place?

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That’s like saying you’re no longer going to work with someone who likes heroin. Society drives those ills, social media amplifies them, agencies prey off of them.

If agencies want to take a stand then they should boycott social media and buying browser history. That would go a long way.

But yes, we play a part—but not even a supporting role. We’re extras with no dialog who walk out of Starbucks and tell our friends we’re a working actor.


The amount of retouching I’ve done for Ogilvy accounts is insane.


You get a like @randy because I feel for you man.

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Free and useless internet points! My favorite!

All kidding aside. There are some products and industries I would refuse to work on….tobacco, for example. Is beauty and messing with people’s bodies next?

I remember when Ogiilvy launched the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty a while back. They swore off using models, but proceeded to retouch the f*ck out their new talent. Good try, gang, but yeah. Heroin.


I usually define tv commercials in general as “the art of selling things to people who don’t need them”. I made my peace with my inner buddha about this. But, yes we are part of the problem. And it’s a first world problem.


I made up my mind after my first year in the business that the only thing I wouldn’t do was porn. I’ve sold terrible things to people and made it look like it was good for them, such as high salt, high sugar, high fat food from an all-you-can-eat restaurant chain with the tag line "Help yourself to Happiness. " And that’s nothing compared to the beauty lies of famous rock divas. I’ve even made Republican commercials. (but not Trump.) As Sinan says, I made my peace with it. I try to make up for it by being completely honest with people about what they are seeing on TV.

As far as I’m concerned, the problem is a lack of critical awareness among the world population. I don’t think my refusing to make a spot for an oversized SUV is going to change anything but my employment status.


I once told a friend of mine that I wouldn’t want to work on a tobacco commercial.
He said, “Someone’s going to make that money, it might as well be you. If you really care that much, then donate the money you make to an anti-tobacco cause.”
I thought that was an interesting perspective.


You get the worlds most attractive people–people who are professionally attractive–then you hire specialists in maximizing that attractiveness (makeup, hair, lighting, wardrobe, photography) and render the results to a camera. This image, despite being the absolute apex of beauty that humans can create on earth is insufficient, and so they call us.

It is an unrealistic standard (vfx), atop an unrealistic standard (hair, makeup, lighting, photography), atop an unrealistic standard (born that way), COMBINED with the astronomic odds of both having a living situation that allows you to pursue being professionally beautiful and having the luck to go viral/become popular.

The idea that a company convincing people their lives would be better with product X is worried about mental health is laughable. They hitch their wagon to the entire beauty industry but start hand wringing when it comes to our contribution? This is marketing, not morality.

edit: i was telling my wife about this and she said, “oh, they’ll only work with the people who can afford to alter their bodies in real life?”


Agree it’s probably a form of marketing. I wouldn’t feel bad about it. Kate Moss didn’t give a shit and we regularly make her look fabulous even painting the nicotine stains off her fingers.

Rather than this puritan stance which seems to be popular with the snowflakes is releasing more behind the scenes footage of beauty work, show them all that Prada Candy thing me and some others did. Then discuss why.

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To the public there is no difference. Both paint (no pun intended) an unrealistic picture of reality. We understand this. The viewing public does not. They are, in fact, unaware of the process no matter how it is accomplished. . I remember when a famous rock star released a passel of home videos to the public, many of the comments were about how beautiful she was in a natural way without retouching. The videos, in fact were HEAVILY retouched.

It’s worth noting that cameras make us look worse. I could look really good, the mirror agrees, my wife agrees, yet my camera will render a corpse that died from lack of sleep.

Because of this, there’s some rationale to using us to get the on-camera images back up to the standard everyone remembers from when they were on set or saw the person in real life.

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Tough standard when everyone thinks they’re a photographer because of their fancy new phone.

Also, complexion especially is not a static feature. Let’s say the day of the shoot you have an enormous pimple on your nose, but yesterday not a bump in sight. If I was painting a portrait of someone and they said don’t paint that pimple on my face, I wouldn’t feel an ethical need to preserve the pimple, because yesterday it might not have been there, and tomorrow it could be gone again. I think beauty work can exist in the realm of making someone look their natural best without leaning into setting an unreachable and unrealistic standard.

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